Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

Oh my! It’s been almost a week since Jack’s party, and I’m still feeling a bit of a hazy buzz. The bumblebees have mostly left my head, though, and Jack was right; my memory is clearing. It still feels more like a dream than a memory, but Jack tells me that fairy magic is like that, and he assures me that it was all quite real.

Let me begin at the beginning.
I awoke early on party day, full of excitement and anticipation. Jack lay gently snoring at my feet, so I slipped out of bed as softly as I could, trying not to wake him. I schlumped into the kitchen and made coffee, drinking it while I prepared our picnic. First into my basket went the things

©voyager, all rights reserved

Apple had asked me to bring; plump black cherries and sweet, red strawberries. Then I added a heap of ripe purple blueberries, the little peanut butter cookies that I’d made the night before, a few milk bones, napkins, water and my camera. (I am the family pack-mule) By the time I was organized, Jack was awake and had padded out to the kitchen. He sat staring at his empty bowl, so I took the hint and fed him, and then went to do my morning ablutions and get dressed.
When Jack had finished eating, he joined me, asking, “Are we having a picnic today, Mummy?”
“You bet, Bubba. It’s a beautiful day, and I thought we could go to the fairy woods.”
Jack’s face lit up, and he said, “That’s a fabulous idea, Mummy.”
“I know,” I said as I headed to the door, “Lets, go, Bubbs.”

The day was fresh and bright, just as Apple had predicted. The high heat and humidity had blown away overnight, leaving behind perfect summer weather. The day was bright and sunny, and the air was warm with a gentle fresh breeze. Small white clouds shape-shifted lazily across a cornflower blue sky as we drove through the countryside.

There were no other cars in the parking lot, and it didn’t take us long to get on the trail. Jack was in high spirits, but after a few minutes, he said to me, “None of the fairies have come to see us, Mummy. I hope everything is alright.”
“I’m sure everything is fine, Bubba. Maybe they’re busy with chores. ”
As we neared the first bench, I saw it first… a sign pinned to a tree that said Welcome, King Jackson Brown & Voyager. I pointed it out to Jack, who looked at it for a few moments and finally said, “That’s odd. Why would the fairies make a sign for us?”
Before I had a chance to reply, the air lit up with fairies flying in from all directions, each calling out “Surprise, Jack!”
Jack looked confused for a moment, but he finally smiled and began to hop, trying to touch the fairies with his nose as they fluttered around him.
A few of the younger ones settled on his back and ran their wee fingers through his thick chestnut brown coat, making Jack laugh. There were dozens of them, all wearing shimmery dresses made from a rainbow of bright, colourful flowers. The dust of their trails mixed and mingled until the air resembled a luminous living landscape by Monet. Where the sunlight pierced the trees in dappled patches, the colours shone like stained glass. I sneezed a few times, and the fairies found this hilarious. Their laughter surrounded us as we rounded the corner to the first bench,
where Jack and I both gasped at the wondrous sight. The forest had been transformed. A small clearing had been made, and the area was dressed for a party.

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The trees were festooned with curls of bright ribbon, and the ground was strewn with flower petals and glittering sprinkles that winked and sparkled and in the shifting light. A bright copper wire with teeny tiny lights wound through the leaves of a shrub, and words of thanks and friendship had been clipped to it. There were itty-bitty picnic tables covered with brightly dotted,

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light cotton cloths and round tables that resembled plant stands fitted with glistening watercoloured tops. Around these tables were bright blue stools with colourful covers that matched the shiny tabletops. More of these stools had been set off to one side, nestled into a patch of ferns. There was an intoxicating scent of mingling flowers in the air, and the happy chattering of the fairies filled the clearing and became like music to my ears. My senses were overcome. It was a pandemonium of fairies, and Jack was utterly delighted to be at the centre of it. His eyes shone like polished amber, and he radiated happiness.

I could feel another sneeze coming on, so I moved away from the brouhaha to the human-sized bench and sat my basket down. I reached in and took out the fruit and cookies that I’d brought, and the moment I set them down, a pair of elves appeared as if by magic and carried them away!

After a few minutes, an elegant fairy named Whistler flew out of the commotion and up a tree. He clapped his hand twice and harrumphed until the forest was quiet. Then with a theatrical flair, he banged a small gong three times and said, “Hello, hello. Welcome, Jack and Voyager. Today’s party is held in your honour, as a small thanks for your service to the fairy realm. When our beloved Oma Troutchen went missing we placed our trust in you, and to our great delight, you brought Oma home quickly and safely. We are thankful and hope you both enjoy yourselves.”
Then he banged the gong again and said, “Let the party begin.”

©voyager, all rights reserved

 

Jack’s Walk

 

©voyager, all rights reserved

Oh My! Jack and I are still exhausted from yesterday’s party. It was a fabulous day, filled with happy surprises, but today both of us are bleary-eyed and bushed. Jack says that fairie dust can muddle you up and make you sleepy, and that’s exactly how I feel – muddled and ready for another nap.

“Don’t worry, Mummy. The forgetting will go away soon.”

“Will the bumblebees in my head also go away?”

“Silly, mummy. Of course, they will. Are they bothering you?”

“Not really. I’m starting to like the way they tickle when they dance.” I reached over to Jack and wiggled my fingers into the thick pile of his ruff and started to scratch. Jack tilted his head back and closed his eyes.

“Jack, will I be able to remember your special day, or will it fade away with the fairie dust?”

He put his head down and laughed,

“Mummy! That’s a silly question. Of course, you’ll be able to remember. When the fairie dust fades, it will all make sense. I promise.” he wiggled closer to me and said, “Until then, I think we should just cuddle and close our eyes.”

“Alright, Jack, that sounds perfect. Hopefully, tomorrow I’ll be able to process all the vivid party vignettes in my head into a narrative. Maybe the bees can help.

 

Jack’s Walk

A hot dog full of sticky, little burrs. ©voyager, all rights reserved.

This morning Jack and I went for a walk in our wee woods. We hadn’t been for several weeks because the trail is about a kilometre long, and Jack can’t walk that far in the heat anymore. He’s been missing his friends, though, and today he wanted to go, saying that he could stop for rests and that the shade of the woods would keep him from overheating. I trust Jack’s instincts, so I packed 2 litres of water, some dark, sweet cherries and a sticky, ripe peach for me along with a tuna sandwich and some biscuits to share with Bubba, plus a book and a small, blue and white checked picnic cloth. I thought we’d make a morning of it.

It wasn’t oppressively hot when we set out, but it was humid, and Jack and I both felt heavy and lumbering.  Our steps soon got lighter, though, as we were beset upon by dozens of fairies flitting around us and chatting excitedly. They were most excited to see Jack and kept telling him how much he had been missed. Many of the younger fairies giggled and asked Jack if they could ride on his back, and he happily obliged them all. Bits of colourful glitter sparkled in the dappled sunlight as the fairies darted about, and the colours mixed and swirled like a kaleidoscope. There was so much fairie dust in the air that it made me sneeze twice, and caused a wave of laughter that chinkled like chimes and echoed through the trees. We stopped briefly for water before we finally arrived at the first bench, where we sat and shared our sandwich.

It seems that Jack is a bit of a celebrity since his adventures finding Oma Troutchen, and everyone wanted to say hello. I could see Jack’s spirits rising as the fairies came and went, each arrival and departure changing the colours in the air and the wafting scent of mingling flowers. They were all very polite, and each introduced themselves, but there were so many of them that I soon lost track of just who was who. It was just a chaos of fairies, and my senses were somewhat overcome. There was one fairy, though, that stayed with us all the way around. Her name was Apple, and she smelled delicious, and she kept asking questions about Jack. Where was he born, and on what day? Was he a country dog or a city dog? What were his favourite things? When she learned that Jack’s full name is Wasserhund’s King Jackson Brown, she got quite excited and wanted to know more about his royal roots. Jack is shy about his family history, but Apple was persistent, and Jack finally opened up about his birth family’s estate and their status as Canadian Field Champions. I smiled as Jack made sure she understood that his real, forever parents are the humble but loving Mr. and me. When Apple found out that Jack was born on February 29, she was all aflutter, calling the day Moontide Makeup Day and saying that it’s no wonder Jack is so brave.

We sat for about 20 minutes, chatting and laughing as we watched the antics of a group of squirrels busy with squirrel shenanigans until Jack said he was ready to carry on. He struggled to stand, and the fairies quickly sprinkled some of their magic dust to help him up, and we were soon on our way again. Apple flew up and sat on my shoulder, and I sneezed again, making her wobble, but she soon settled down, and I felt my steps lighten as if gravity was loosening its hold. As we walked, the chaos of fairies continued until it seemed the whole forest was alive with moving colour and the music of fairy voices. I told Apple how beautiful it all was, and she laughed, telling me that the forest is always alive like this, but humans haven’t the senses to see or hear or smell it all. Apple said that because I had helped find Oma Troutchen, they had agreed to use some fairy magic to allow me to see their world. I thanked her for the fabulous gift, and she leaned over to stroke my cheek in reply. It was beguiling, and I was so enchanted by it all that time faded away. Before I knew it, we were at the end of the trail, and I could see that Jack was weary. It seems even fairy magic isn’t enough to erase Jack’s years, but he was happy. His eyes were bright, his tail was high, and his spirit shone as brightly as the glittered watercolour trails of magic swirling through the trees.

As we made our way to the car, Apple whispered in my ear that the fairies were planning a party to thank Jack and invited us to return at the same hour in three days’ time. She promised the day would be bright, but fresher and asked me to not to tell Jack; they wanted to surprise him. I readily agreed, mentally planning to make sure Bubba and I were both rested. I asked what I could bring, and Apple quickly told me that some cherries and strawberries would be appreciated. I promised I would bring lots and then reached into my pack and placed my sack of uneaten cherries on the ground. Bunches of fairies soon swooped down, scooping up the dark red fruit in their arms and carrying them off with a chorus of goodbyes and good wishes. Apple stayed with us until I had Bubba settled in the car and then flew off to join the others, leaving behind a fragrant trail of aquamarine dust.

Oh My! A fairy party! We’ve been invited to a fairy party, and it’s in Jack’s honour. I’m so excited that it’s going to be hard to keep the secret from Bubba, but I will… somehow. Now, what does one wear to such an event?

 

The Art of Book Design: Where the Blue Begins

More allegory than a fairy tale, this book is a delightful dog story filled with the imaginative and charming artwork of Arthur Rackham, one of the great artists of the golden age of book illustration, which lasted from about 1880 to 1920. There are many line drawings throughout the book, but only 4 full-colour illustrations, all of which I’ve attached. Enjoy.

Christopher Morley. Where the Blue Begins. Illustrated by Arthur Rackham. Philadelphia, Lippincott, 1922.

Frontispiece, Where the Blue Begins.

 

Page 28, Where the Blue Begins.

Page 92, Where the Blue Begins.

Page 148, Where the Blue Begins.

 

 

via: The Internet Archive

Cover Photo via Abe Books

The Art of Book Design: The Lilac Fairy Book

Andrew Lang. The Lilac Fairy Book. Illustrated by H.J. Ford. New York (etc.), Longmans, Green, and co., 1910.

We’ve reached the last book of the Andrew Lang coloured fairy series. The Lilac book was published in 1910, at a time when illustrated fairy tales were going out of fashion. It’s filled with the whimsical drawings of H.J. Ford and, as usual, I’ve attached all of the full-page drawings below the fold. The entire set of 12 books are all linked at the end of the post. Enjoy.

[Read more…]

The Art of Book Design: The Orange Fairy Book

Andrew Lang. The Orange Fairy Book. Illustrated by H.J. Ford. New York, Longmans, Green, 1906.

This week’s Andrew Lang fairy book comes to us courtesy of the colour orange. As usual, I’ve attached all of the full-page illustrations and they’re a delight. Done by the talented H.J. Ford, each one is filled with wonder and whimsy. Last week I told you that this is the last book of the Andrew Lang coloured series and I was wrong. There’s one final book which I’ll post next Saturday. Until then, Enjoy.

[Read more…]

The Art of Book Design: The Olive Fairy Book

Andrew Lang. The Olive Fairy Book. Illustrations by H.J. Ford. London, New York, Longmans, Green, 1907.

This week’s Andrew Lang fairy book is the second to last book of the series and it’s filled with whimsy and charm. There are dragons and serpents, oxen and camel, spiders and lots and lots of birds. I’ve included all the full-page drawings because each of them spoke to me in one way or another.

[Read more…]

The Crimson Fairy Book

Andrew Lang. The Crimson Fairy Book. Illustrations by H. J. Ford. London &  New York,  Longmans, Green and Co., 1903.

This week we’re looking at Andrew Lang’s Crimson coloured fairy book. I had a terrible time choosing the artwork to showcase in this post because all of it is wonderful. H.J. Ford’s full-page drawings are full of whimsy, and each one has some element or another that makes it worthy of a look, so I’ve included all of them for you to see. Enjoy. [Read more…]

The Blue Fairy Book

Andrew Lang. The Blue Fairy Book. Illustrations by H.J. Ford. New York, Longmans, Green and Co., 1889.

This book was originally published in 1889, however, I have added the coloured frontispiece from the 1922 edition to this post. I did so because the illustration is the work of Henry J. Ford, who masterminded the art for the entire original Lang coloured fairy tale set. Otherwise, the 1889 edition contains more stories and illustrations than the edition from 1922.

[Read more…]

The Art of Book Design: The Brown Fairy Book

Andrew Lang. The Brown Fairy Book, Illustrations by H.J. Ford. New York (etc.), Longmans, Green, and Co., 1910.


This week’s fairy book is brown and it’s filled with the wonderful illustrations of H. J. Ford. This book, along with the remainder of the series (which I’ll be posting), all have a few coloured full-page illustrations. There are a few things I’d like to note. One is the presence of nipples on a bare-chested woman in the drawing on page 111. In fact, I find most of the drawings more suggestive. The princess’s dresses are sheerer and nipples can be seen through them. These drawings are reflective of the societal changes that happened during the Edwardian Period. The drawings also include the usual lions, bears, mermaids and ogres, along with a wonderful cock.

I’d also like to note that thanks to a comment by Crip Dyke, I’ve linked the Andrew Lang Fairy Books. The links are at the bottom of the page near the links to the books online source.

[Read more…]

Jack’s Walk

Artwork by rq.

Oma was still laughing as we made our way slowly back to the car. She seemed content to ride on top of Jack and had no difficulty keeping her balance. She pointed out the dandelions and told us how her grandmother taught her to make a tonic from them.
“It’s good for all sorts of ailments. It helps with bloat and the tummy flutter. You can make a salve of it for nettle stings and pebble joints. My Gran is a Wise Fairy. She knows all sorts of remedies and potions. You can meet her when we get home.”
“That would be nice,” said Jack. ‘Here’s the car, Oma. Now Mummy is going to help us get inside. Have you ever been in a car before?” He asked.
I reached down and put one hand under Jack’s belly and the other in a hug around his bum and counted to three, and then together, we hopped him into the car, with Oma still holding tightly to Jack’s collar.
“Goodness, no,” she cried. Her laughter stopped, and I could see that she was frightened. Jack stepped into the back and lay down on his bed.
“It’s very safe, Oma,” I said. “I’m a careful driver, and we can get you home quickly. It’s not nearly as dangerous as surfing with a seal.”
“That’s right,” said Jack. “You can sit here with me and watch out the window. Maybe, you could tell me again about your home by the sea.”
That brought a smile back to her face, and Oma relaxed a bit.

“Why, it’s the prettiest place you’ll ever see. The beaches are surrounded by tall red cliffs covered with fields of green, and beyond them are the mountains. Some say they’re the oldest mountains in the world. They go on forever, one round bump rolling into another all covered with trees. That’s where we live, by a stream in the mountains. It’s easy to get lost because there are lots of streams, but our place overlooks a gigantic rock with a hole in it that sits in the ocean all by itself. My favourite human friend, Muriel, calls it the Perce Rock but my family calls it The Big Wink. It’s something to see. If it’s a beautiful day and we’re not too busy, Dad will take us down to the beach. I love it there. You can find all sorts of pebbles and stones and sometimes even polished coloured gems that make beautiful decorations. Some of our craftspeople make them into jewellery or suncatchers. I like to collect them to put in the garden among the flowers.” Oma had settled down into Jack’s neck ruff and was watching out the window when she suddenly started to laugh again and said,
“Wow, this is better than flying. What do you call this thing again.”
“It’s a car, Oma. Most humans use them to get around,” said Jack.
“Well, it’s a lot of fun. You look down on things as you pass by them, and it moves so fast! I like to go fast. Sheesh! What a day I’m having. I am on a grand adventure,” she giggled. “I hope Mum won’t be too mad at me. I got my stockings dirty, and I’ve lost my books.”                            I looked in the rearview mirror and saw that Oma’s eyes had misted up again, so I said to her, ” I know the Perce Rock, or as you call it ‘The Big Wink.’  My husband’s family lives in Perce. I love it there, too. It’s one of my favourite places. I didn’t know that fairies live there, though.”
“Fairies live almost everywhere, and our mountain by The Big Wink is full of little folk of every kind,” she said. “In my neighbourhood, we have Gnomes, Imps, Elves and Fairies. It’s great. Everyone works together, and we share lots of things, but mostly food and stories. I like talking to people over food, especially if there are stories. Mama likes the love stories best, and my sister Edna likes to gossip, but I like tall tales of adventure. The Imps tell great adventure stories that make you silly laugh. ‘Course, the mushrooms they serve can make you silly laugh before the stories even start. Mama says that Edna and I can only eat one or two, and only if she or Papa is with us. Mama makes a lot of rules, but she says it’s because she wants us to grow up to be good fairies.” Oma paused for a moment to scratch her back and said, “Gosh, my wings get itchy when they’re growing in.” She paused for a moment, staring out the window when suddenly a smile lit up her face.
“Hey! Big Brown Dog! Stop! This place looks familiar. We must be getting close to home. Stop, Human, stop!” Oma’s arms were flailing about as she tried to stand up, but couldn’t find her balance. I turned into the parking lot for the Trillium Trail and stopped the car. I turned in my seat and looked into the back of the car and said, “Alright, Oma. We’re here. This is the forest where you live. I want you to hold on tightly to Jack’s collar as he gets up. OK, Jack, let’s go.”

Jack stood up slowly, and he carefully made his way out through the back door. Once on the ground, he softly made his way onto the trail as I closed up the car and locked it. Jack had only taken a few steps when he was set upon by a large mixed group of faires, Gnomes and Imps, each of them calling Oma’s name and reaching out to her. Jack slowly laid down near a patch of trout lilies, and Oma slid off of him with her arms held out wide, calling out loudly ‘Wheeee!’ A blue fairy fluttered toward Jack and caught Oma as she hit the ground. She pulled Oma close and hugged her tightly, and Oma started to cry. Still holding on to each other, Oma said, “I forget your name, but I remember your smell. Do you know where my Mama is?” Oma pulled back with tears in her eyes and continued, ” She’s going to be upset with me. I’ve lost my books, and I’ve gotten dirty, and I’m really late. Oh, Dear. I don’t know what to do.” She began to cry.

I watched as a pale green fairy wended her way through the crowd. She was older, with dull grey hair and heavy lines around her face. As she got nearer to Jack, Oma saw her and cried out with a laugh, “Edna! I am so glad to see you. I was afraid I’d never get home.”
Edna took Oma’s hands and said, “I’m glad to see you, too. You must be hungry and tired. Let’s get you home.” She looked into Jack’s eyes and said, “Thank you,” then led Oma away by the hand into the forest. There was an outburst of ‘Thank yous’ from the rest of the crowd as they slowly followed behind the two older fairies, waving goodbye one moment and then slowly vanishing into the forest. As we watched them go, I saw Gnorman turn around and come toward Jack and me, so I knelt down on one knee and smiled at him as he approached. Without hesitation, he hopped onto my lap and took my hand in his and bestowed a kiss upon it.  Then looked up at me and said,
“Thank you, Lassie. And you, Sir Jack. I see that you have injuries to your nose and your toes. I wish you speedy healing. We will never forget what you have done today. You will always be welcome among all the little folk, and we will write tales and songs about your bravery. Same for you, Voyager,” he said as he hopped off my knee.
“Thank you, Gnorman. It is my pleasure to have been of service. One question, though. How did you know so quickly that we were here with Oma?”
“Hera Hawk followed you and flew back to let us know you’d found her and were on your way home,” Gnorman said, smiling. He turned toward the forest, and said over his shoulder, “When next we meet, I’ll be wanting to hear the story from you. Right now, I have a party to get to.” He brought up his hand to blow me a kiss, calling out ‘Thanks, again, to the two of you,” before disappearing into the trees. I put my hand on Jack’s back and told him, “You are very brave, Jack. And kind. I am the luckiest Mummy in the world because I get to be your Mummy.”
Jack smiled as he stood up and said, “Thanks, Mummy. Could we get ice cream on the way home?”
“You bet, Bubba. Today you’re the king of the forest. I think you’ll need a queen. Let’s make it a Dairy Queen.”

“Yay,” he said, happily wagging his tail as he trotted ahead of me.

“““““““““

I’d like to thank rq for the beautiful artwork. It’s a lovely piece, and it means a great deal to me.

My thanks also to all of you for allowing me to try my hand at story writing. It was a bit of fun.

 

The Art of Book Design: The Grey Fairy Book

Andrew Lang. The Grey Fairy Book. Illustrations by H.J. Ford. New York, Longmans, Green, 1905.

Grey may not be the most exciting of colours, but the stories in this week’s Andrew Lang fairy book are full of adventure and most of the tales are new to me. The illustrations are the work of H.J. Ford again, and it was difficult to pull a few favourites because all the drawings are beautiful. Beginning next week, the remaining Andrew Lang coloured fairy books have actual coloured illustrations, so you won’t want to miss those. For today, let’s have a look at the lovely black and white drawings that accompany these stories.

[Read more…]

Jack’s Walk

Bixby and his mom, ©voyager, all rights reserved

 

I watched Jack hurry past the far edge of the field and toward a small wooded area. Suddenly he stopped and lifted his head, moving it from side to side and sniffing. Then he turned toward me and lowered his head again and stuck out his tongue to take a small taste of the grass. I was getting close enough that I could see a gleam come into his eye as he turned to his left, sniffing deeply for a few steps and then suddenly he plunged his big square head down behind an old log. The next thing I knew, Jack was jumping backwards and hollering “Ow, Ow, Ow” again. Great, I thought, more snakes, but Jack was rubbing his big rubber nose, not his toes, and his nose looked bright red and seemed to be throbbing. I hurried to Jack’s side, and that’s when I saw the rabbit, who was obviously hopping mad.

She was small with soft, lustrous fur that shone a blue-grey in the sunlight. Her ears lay flat against her back, and she was waving a large wooden spoon in the air toward Jack and yelling at him, “Get out, bad dog before I strike you again. How dare you burst into my warren and try to eat me. And with my son at home, too. Bad dog! Go on now, get out of here.”
Jack looked shocked and gave his nose another lick before saying, “I wasn’t trying to eat you. Honest, I wasn’t. I like rabbits. What I mean is I like to talk to rabbits, not that I like to eat rabbits. Oh dear, I’ve bumbled this all up. I’m trying to find someone, and I thought I smelled her down your hole.”
“Hmf,” said the rabbit, “It isn’t a hole, it’s my home, and you can’t just suddenly stick your head into someone’s home like that. It frightened me. You didn’t knock or announce yourself. You’re a very rude dog. Didn’t your mother teach you better manners than that?”
“I’m his mother,” I said, “and his manners are usually quite good. Please excuse him today. We’re trying to find a lost fairy who is very far from home, and Jack is quite worried about her. We both are.”
“That is no excuse to forget your manners,” the rabbit said, waving her spoon in the air again. “You haven’t even introduced yourselves.”
“I apologize,” I said. “It seems my manners are lacking today. My name is Voyager, and this is my dog, Jack. May I ask your name?”
“It’s Mrs. O’Hare,” said the rabbit.

Suddenly a smaller light brown rabbit popped up and peered at us from behind her. “And this young fellow is my son, Bixby. She turned to him and said sternly, “I thought I told you to stay inside.”
“I’m sorry, Mama,” he said. “but the old fairy is crying again, and I thought you’d want to know.”
“That’s Oma,” Jack cried out. “I knew she was here. Can you bring her out to us? We want to take her home.”
Mrs. O’Hare waved her spoon at Jack again and said, “Not so quickly, Mr. Jack. I haven’t been able to get a lick of sense out of this fairy. How do I know she’s who you’re looking for and how do I know you won’t eat her.”
“I don’t eat fairies!” Jack exclaimed. “Not fairies. Not rabbits. I eat dog food, that’s all.”
“Well,” said Mrs. O’Hare, “you look very well-fed, whatever it is that you eat. Are you sure you only eat dog food?”
Jack is sensitive about his weight, and I could see he was flustered, so I spoke up. “He has an occasional cookie treat, Mrs. O’Hare, but I can assure you that Jack doesn’t eat fairies. If we can speak with Oma, I mean the fairy, she can tell you that she knows Jack.”
“That fairy hasn’t been able to tell me anything that makes sense,” she said. “She keeps going on about being home late from school and saying that her mother will be upset. When I try to get more information, she tells me that her mother doesn’t want her to talk to strangers and then she starts to cry. About the only thing that calms her down is my honey biscuits, and she’s eaten almost all of them. I was hoping to take those to choir rehearsal tomorrow. Everyone loves my honey biscuits, and now I’ll need to make another batch, but even so, I’m not prepared to send this fairy away unless I know she’s safe.”

I crouched down beside Jack and said, “I promise you we’ll take her home to her family and friends. They’re all very worried about her. Oma has fairy ‘forgetting disease,’ and she gets mixed up. She was having an ill-advised adventure with a silly fox who lost her, and she’s very far from her home. We have a car, though, so we can get her back quickly,” I said.
“I hate cars,” said Mrs. O’Hare, “I lost an uncle to a shiny red car that was going too fast.” She turned and said to Bixby, “go see if you can get the fairy to come outside. There are a few honey biscuits left in the tin. Get one and try to get her to follow you.” Then she looked up at me and said, “Are you careful when you drive your car, voyager?”
“Yes, M’am. I am. I’ve never hit a rabbit with my car. Or any other animal,” I added quickly. “I’m sorry about your uncle.”
Just then, Bixby was back, holding out a cookie to a small figure emerging from the warren. Her grey hair had come unpinned and was wildly framing a tear-stained face full of creases. Her dark eyes were troubled but brightened as soon as she saw Jack.
“Hello, young man,” she said. ” I know you, don’t I.”
“Yes, you do. My name is Jack, and I visit with you in the forest where you live.”
“I live by the ocean, not in a forest,” she said, “but you are familiar to me. Do you know where my mama lives? I need to get home. I got lost on my way home from school, and mama will be worried.” Her eyes filled with tears.
Jack calmly laid down on the ground and looked into Oma’s eyes. His own eyes were getting moist, and he said, “Oma, I do know the way to get you home, and if you come with me, I promise I will take you there safely.”
Oma fiddled with the hem of her skirt, and after a moment, she said, “You do seem familiar. What is your name?”
“My name is Jack, and this is my mama, Voyager. We are here to take you home.”
“Oh, I’m so glad. My mom is going to be so mad at me. I’ve lost my books, and I’ve gotten dirty, and I can’t remember how to get home,” Oma started to cry softly.
“That’s alright,” said Jack. “I’ll explain that it wasn’t your fault.”
“That’s very nice of you,” she said. “What’s your name?”
“Jack. My name is Jack. Will you let my human pick you up,” he asked?
Oma was still fiddling with a loose thread on her hem, and without looking up, she clearly said, “Nope. Nobody is going to pick me up. You just lead the way, and I’ll fly behind you.”
“Your wings haven’t grown in yet,” said Jack. “and it’s too far for you to walk.”

Oma let go of her hem and frantically reached up to touch her shoulders, crying out, “Don’t tell me I’ve lost my wings, too. Mom is really going to be mad,”
Jack patiently said, “You haven’t lost your wings. They moult in the winter, and they haven’t grown in yet. It’s only early spring. They’ll grow back soon.”
She picked up her hem again and said, “Will you look at this loose thread. I hope Mom can fix it. Do you know where I live? I need to get home.”
“We’re going to take you home,” said Jack
“Are you sure you know how to get to my place? Who are you?” Oma said, looking at Jack, “I’ve forgotten the way, and my mama is going to be upset. I’ve gotten my dress dirty, and I’ve lost my books.”
“I’m your friend, Jack, and I do know the way,” he said, and he gently laid his big bowling ball of a head on the ground beside Oma and told her, “climb up onto me now and hold on tight. Careful of my nose, please. It’s a bit sore,” he said, looking at Mrs. O’Hare’s wooden spoon before continuing, “Your family will be happy to have you home again. I’m sure no one will be upset with you.”
“You do seem like a nice dog. And you are familiar. What’s your name?” she asked, reaching out to Jack and grabbing a handful of his neck ruff and pulling herself up.
“Jack,” he said patiently.
“What’s my name,” she asked.
“Your name is Oma Troutchen, and I’m going to take you home.”
“Do you know the way,” she asked again as she started to climb up Jack’s neck.
“Yes, I know the way to your home. We’re going to go there now.”
Oma had made it to the top of Jack, and he softly stood up and told Oma to grab onto his collar and hold on tight. She reached out both hands, grabbing on and started to laugh.
“This is a bit like surfing. I often surf with my friend Slippery Seal. Do you know him?”
“I don’t know any seals by name, but I like to surf,” said Jack.
“Well, let’s go find some water, and you can take me surfing,” Oma said, still laughing.
Jack turned to Mrs. O’Hare and Bixby and said, “Thank you for taking good care of Oma. I’m sorry if I was rude.”
Mrs. O’Hare snuggled up to Bixby and said, “You’re forgiven. Manners are important, but it’s even more important to have good friends who remember the things we forget. Bixby, give the biscuit to Voyager in case Oma needs it on the way home.”
Bixby reached up to me, and I gently took the cookie from him. “Thank you both,” I said, “I won’t forget your kindness, and I will make sure that Oma’s family know that you took excellent care of her.”
“Off with you now, before that fairy changes her mind,” said Mrs. O’Hare, and she and Bixby stood together watching us slowly make our way to the car.